Luxury Auto Companies Question Headlight Law

The 45-year-old headlight law limits headlights to only high-low settings, while some carmakers have more advanced ideas than that.

Audi’s new headlight design that can illuminate around corners is pitting the car company against a 1968 law that requires headlights to only have two settings: high and low. The Audi A8 sedan is designed with brighter beams and smarter adjusting capabilities, changing automatically when sensing traffic, pedestrians, and different environmental conditions.

With plans to begin selling the car this year, Audi needs the 45-year-old law to make accommodations for the company’s “matrix-beam headlights.” These headlights are made of multiple LED bulbs that dim and brighten individually, more complex than just a high-low setting.

While the beams may provide brighter lights for the driver, they can dim automatically, preventing vision hazards to other drivers. Audi is not the first company to take interest in contesting this law. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and General Motors are all joining together to lobby lawmakers to improve the headlight law to match the new technology of today. 

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